Buying bundles of children's clothing can be soft on your pocket and the enviornment if you use common sense and caution.
Firstly, silly as this sounds, read the description carefully. Make sure you understand exactly what is in the bundle. Look for clear pictures of what is included, along with basic description of the items. We always state if there is anything other than the most minor of marks (ie something that just won't be seen when the item is worn, but you may just about be able to find with close inspection under excellent lighting conditions). Look for sellers that state any specific damage.
Some brands definatley wear better than others and we sell a lot of second hand children's clothing. Brands we've found to avoid are Primark (Girl to Girl, Denim & Co, etc), Supermarket (George @ Asda, TU by Sainsbury's, Tesco, etc) and Ladybird as these tend to be poor quality - lets face it they can sell them at £2 an item for a reason - and have a habit of twisting on seams, etc.
Brands that we have found especially good for quality and durability are: Boden, Adams, Gap, Next, Mothercare, M&S, designers at Debenhams range and Pumpkin Patch. There are others but these are the ones we most commonly sell and have found the quality to be consistant.
Monsoon items tend to be bought for best and only worn for best so are normally in great condition still. Check with the seller for missing sequins and beads as these always seem to come off - a few is no biggie but loads will affect the look. And zips! Monsoon zips have a horrible habit of sticking so again, ask the seller if you are unsure.
Be cautious with Next and Adams items. Check Next are on the heart label or the new style (late 2007) Next with a line under label. Some 2008 Next does not have the line under so they may be having another label change! The heart label was introduced later 2002 so any items without those labels are very very old. If your seller does not state which Next label - ask. Adams, the older style green apple was retired some years ago, and you need to look for the blue label. If you can't see in the photos' ask the seller.
Unless stale smoke and animal hair doesn't bother you - and it may not - check the seller is a smoke free and pet free house. If you don't smoke and the items are from a smoking house, even if they are kept in a seperate room, they will stink of smoke which can bother a lot of people. It bothers us!
Sizes vary! We have 3 different sizes that are daughter is wearing so check the items are all consistent in size, rather than just by going on the size labels. Check waists adjust. Next, Gap. Mothercare, M&S, Boden, Adams, etc all tend to have elastic adjustable waists but even so, best to ask.
Look at the sellers feedback - it does matter! An odd neg or neutral isn't necessarily the end of the world. Look at the comments, look at the feedback the buyer leaves - some buyers only leave negatives - grrr!
Make sure you aren't buying a ton of out of season items. It can be nice to have some t-shirts for winter and the odd pair of shorts. We get warm days, come spring, it can suddenly go hot. They may go to soft play where its very hot, etc. But only buy bundles with the minimum of strappy tops for winter and thick jumpers for summer. There is no point in filling the wardrobe with stuff - just in case.
Postage. This varies a lot. Some sellers underestimate and find that the trip to the post office is quite a shock! Cheapest isn't always best. As a guide, parcel force charge around £14.99 up to 10kg and it goes up from 10.5kg. Business sellers nomally have an account with a courier company with some being able to ship as cheaply as £8 if they are a huge seller. For small business's like ours, shipping costs £19 a parcel. But its collected from our door and we can track it all the way to yours. We don't have to drive and park and then queue up so we cap our P&P at £15 and absorb the loss.
Buying bundles is very cost effective as its an average of £2 an item just in P&P so if you were to buy 50 items seperately you'd pay £100 just on postage alone - without any costs of the item!
Buying second hand, if you are cautious, should fill your children's closets with great items at a fraction of the price new. They have more items so less wear, and then you should get a significant amount of your expenditure when you have finished.
And with the credit crunch, lets be honest, that can only be a win win situation
Happy buying, and best of luck